“Brick Park” is an urban “knowledge park” in the heart of uptown Saint John. Knowledge parks are similar to industrial parks but built to attract I.T. companies. In other areas, they tend to be suburban and include a series of low rise buildings with large parking lots that are isolated from the city; the Saint John model of an urban knowledge park is fairly unique.
Over time, our cluster of IT companies just naturally chose to locate uptown and grow here. A light went on one day and somebody said, look, we have over 30 “knowledge industry” companies concentrated in this small area uptown. These companies were drawn to the uptown because of access to services not readily available in a typical knowledge park. Not only do they have access to I.T. infrastructure, they have easy access to cafes, restaurants, bars, hotels and other peripheral services.
Bob Quirion from Dealermine commented in today’s TJ article that “if you want to take a Friday afternoon break and run over to Picaroons for a beer, that’s ok because it encourages innovation in my mind”. This “innovation” that Bob is talking about frequently happens through what is often dubbed “collision” in their industry. Those moments when you’re sitting at the pub, waiting in line at the coffee shop or standing in the elevator and you strike up a conversation with a virtual stranger… this is where the magic happens. In standard Knowledge parks the chance of collisions is significantly less since there’s less opportunity for interaction within the community.
What Saint John has to offer knowledge industry companies from outside our region is one of our best kept secrets. We now have a powerful tool to celebrate our success, tell our story and grow our knowledge cluster. www.brickpark.ca